Curcio taps in winner for Sachem North

Sachem North forward Leanna Curcio traps the ball

Sachem North forward Leanna Curcio traps the ball against Ward Melville in the Suffolk high school girls soccer game. (Oct. 5, 2011) (Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke)

Leanna Curcio had no time to celebrate and little time for postgame interviews.

"I actually have another practice to go to," she said with a laugh before sprinting off to her ride.

With her club team's practice starting shortly after the Sachem North girls soccer team's game against Ward Melville, overtime wasn't an option for Curcio. Thanks to her first career varsity goal, which served as the game winner in Sachem North's 2-1 win, the sophomore midfielder got to where she needed to go on time.


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Curcio took a feed in the box from Ashlee Thompson and fired a shot that was deflected by keeper Ally Ramos but slowly trickled over the goal line for a 2-1 lead with 14:16 remaining. The win pulled Sachem North (4-1) into a tie with the Patriots (4-1) atop League I.

"The goalie came out and I kind of just tapped it," Curcio said. "It almost didn't make it over the line."

The Flaming Arrows admit that they create limited scoring opportunities, but when they do, they capitalize.

Such as when they caught Ward Melville off guard on a corner kick with 11 minutes remaining in the first half. Before the defense was able to set up, Jessica Mazliah quickly played a short corner, passing the ball to Devin McMahon, who sent a low cross in front of the net to an unmarked Emily Jones, who scored easily for a 1-0 lead.

It was an impressive win over a Ward Melville team that quickly has established itself as one of the top teams in the county. The Patriots are an athletic bunch led by its five senior captains, including Cortland-bound golfer Caysea Cohen, who took a centering pass from Tara O'Hern and eluded keeper Erin McNulty to tie the game at 1 with 4:31 remaining in the half.

That would be the only goal allowed by McNulty, who had 12 saves, and a Brianna Harris-led defense that focuses on making as few touches as possible. A strategy that worked to perfection Wednesday. "It's huge," McNulty said of the victory. "Now we just have to keep going and not let this win get us too bigheaded."

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